Thursday, October 5, 2017

I will try again tomorrow

By Jacob Mansch
On September 29, 2015, I became a Kansas traffic statistic. I was a passenger in a vehicle and became a victim of distracted driving. The driver was using his cell phone.
Jacob Mansch
After we hit a concrete bridge on a rural county road in Sumner County, I have little recollection of the events of that afternoon – indeed I have a sketchy memory of the next several months.
Thankfully the skills and knowledge of the first responders, the ambulance EMTs and the awesome doctors and nurses who cared for me, I survived to tell my story. I know my journey is not yet over but I have been blessed with incredible faith and a truly loving, supportive family, without whom I could not have survived. Through the continued prayers of my family and my huge community of friends, my successes have been celebrated and my journey continues.
From a young age my parents taught me perseverance and determination in the face of adversity. I was born with Spina Bifida, but with hard work and courage, I graduated high school with my class. I had a full life of friends, activities and events. I had a job I truly loved and lived independently in my own home with my awesome service dog – a German Shepherd whose name was (appropriately) Angel. That all changed the day I became a statistic. I was told that in the time following the wreck, Angel stayed by my side and helped me stay conscious despite my extremely severe injuries. Angel stayed with me over the next five months in the hospital.  I lost her July 15, 2016.
After being intubated for an extended period of time, I had to work hard to breathe on my own, then relearn how to swallow, to talk and to eat. My right leg was amputated at the pelvic bone. I had to learn to balance so I could sit, then to use my wheelchair again. Through determination and perseverance, I was able to do all these things.
Because of continued severe trauma and infections, I contracted myopathy and neuropathy of my upper extremities. My hands and arms began to curl up into my torso.  I began to do the “T- Rex” - what my family called this condition. With their continued faith, their constant sense of hope, and our gift of humor, this became just another step on my journey. My brother and my sister-in-law stopped by the hospital each night with words of encouragement and praises for each day’s “win.” They are one of the reasons I never lost hope. Each day they eased the long day of recovery and dreaded rehabilitation. My doctors and nurses knew them by name. Roy and I watched Cubs baseball and Husker football (none of which I remember), and Jayhawk basketball (some fleeting memories). Our Bears football was a lost season that year.
Just this month I have returned to the job I love so much. My Dad keeps his watch over me from heaven, and my Angel is now watching from doggie heaven. I have a lot of work to do to become fully independent. I still need help dressing and transferring from bed to wheelchair. I need help when my hands don’t cooperate. My school district has been awesome in working with me when I get too tired and worn out to work. The dreams still haunt me and I need someone to stay with me at night. Mom told me one day, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”
And so I will persevere, thankful for each day - whatever it brings - and I will try again tomorrow.

Jacob Mansch is a para at Belle Plaine High School.



  1. What a powerful story. Even after going though so much after the distracted driving-related crash, you are a ray of positivity. A lot of people wouldn't be able to handle all that you have had to go through and still have the strength to try again tomorrow.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, I hope we can all learn that at the end of the day- whether we get in our cars to drive to work or the store or even by the attitudes and words that we say, we have the power to change someone's life. I hope we can change lives for the better.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! Your courage and perseverance are inspiring.

  3. Thank you for your story. Your perseverance is inspiring and I'm glad to see that you are in a position to share your wisdom with others.

  4. Jacob, your journey is extremely inspiring to all of us. But it also illustrates how another's life can be impacted through a careless moment of distraction.
    To quote another, you are a profile in courage and uplifting in your determination to lead a quality life. I wish you continued encouragement and success each and every day.
    Richard Carlson
    Secretary of Transportation

  5. Jacob, I am so glad you are here to share your story. Best of luck in your continued recovery and keep inspiring others!

  6. Jacob,
    Thank you for sharing the tragic events you have lived through with courage and humor. It is inspiring and will help me to continue to keep trying. Best wishes for healing and success.

  7. Jacob, you are an amazing person and I am proud to know you. You are a blessing to the community of Belle Plaine, 1000x over. Prayers for your continued recovery, and for a lifetime of touching the lives of everyone who knows you.

  8. You're an inspiration to us all.May God bless you and you continue to persevere and sharing your story with us.

  9. Jacob, A true inspiration to all who know and hear your testimony. You should speak at schools and other events to share the consequences of distracted driving. You have a compelling testimony to share. God bless you and still praying for you.